Alfold set to go under more concrete as Waverley’s 5-year housing supply ruled at 4.01 years by Government Inspector


With the wording still warm from the 6-day planning Inquiry held shortly before Christmas – a Government Inspector has given Thakeham Homes the go-ahead to build 99 homes in Alfold.

Just remember that it is the Tory Government shafting villages like Alfold – not Waverley Borough Council.

However, we will be writing more about those who must take responsibility for the fine mess that Waverley is now in.

In fact, So quick was Inspector Harold Stephens off the blocks with his decision that the Waverley Web hadn’t the chance to post on the final day of the hearing because another controversial Planning Inquiry overtook it into Red Court at Haslemere.

Happy Harold had evidently made his mind up before turning off his Zoom in the room.

One by one, the Inspector drew a line through ‘Your Waverley’s long list of sites it claimed were deliverable in 5 years of its Local Plan.

However, Harold wasn’t having any of it – and you will see from the decision, which is included below – what he believed was deliverable and what was not.

He then dismissed Waverley’s claim that it had a 5.22-year housing supply and ruled, in his opinion, it did not; it only had,

4.01 years.

The sites that the Council includes within the supply cannot be justified applying the current definition of deliverable. The Council’s supply figure of 4,660 dwellings in Table 3 should be reduced to give a more robust total supply figure of 3,575 dwellings for the five year period. Although the Council maintains there is a 5.22 year supply, in my view, there is a housing land supply equivalent to 4.01 years.

So now the tiny village of Alfold on the Surrey/Sussex border is to grow like Topsy – who “just growed and growed.”

Despite it being on the busy A281 – Guildford to ~Horsham Road, and as the Inspector recognised was 15km from the nearest station. However, you will see from his decision Thakeham’s witness convinced him that the roads were safe enough to cycle on, and…

… although concerns were also raised about foul drainage in Alfold. Thames Water has recommended suitably worded conditions to secure the provision of pre- commencement details of additional water supply and foul water infrastructure or an infrastructure delivery plan. In my view these planning conditions address these concerns in a satisfactory manner.

But good old Happy Harold – who only allowed just one single objector to raise her voice for five minutes – yes, a miserable five minutes – couldn’t even spell the name of the village correctly.

I have taken into account all other matters raised including the concerns raised on behalf of Alford Parish Council and the representations made by interested persons including those who gave evidence at the Inquiry and those who provided written submissions. Many of the matters raised such as the scale of the proposed development, the loss of rural character and open countryside, over reliance on the private car and loss of trees are points which I have already dealt with under the main issues.

So there you have it, folks. The Sussex based developer Thakeham Homes wins the day – having lost its previous appeal for 425 homes on the same site in a bid to tip some dosh into The Merchant Seaman’s War Memorial Society’s depleted coffers.

Watch this space because once these 99 homed have been built – 30% of which the developer claims will be ~ “affordable”, what’s the chance that more will follow – and everything we predicted – Alfold joining with Dunsfold to become ALDUN New Town comes true?

Aldun and dusted?

Here they go again… another Thakeham bid to build in Alfold.

A resident describes the ‘ real Alfold’ whilst a developer has a very different vision for the village’s future.

If you have queries or feedback about the decision or the way we handled the appeal(s), you should submit them using our “Feedback” webpage at organisations/planning-inspectorate/about/complaints-procedure.

5 thoughts on “Alfold set to go under more concrete as Waverley’s 5-year housing supply ruled at 4.01 years by Government Inspector”

  1. This is typical of a Tory employed planning inspector who sits behind a desk and doesn’t give a fig about local amenities or residents. Remember folks the big building companies and the developers are the Tory parties biggest contributor

    1. You are absolutely right – we pictured Boris standing on the Thakeham Homes stand at the Tory Conference – and all the delegates sported Thakeham Homes lanyards sponsored by Thakeham. We are only surprised that the Inspector didn’t deliver his decision after the summing-up because his mind was already made up.

    1. If your spine is shivering Barry, just imagine how the spines are shivering in unison at Waverley Towers?

  2. For once – I am lost for words! – Our uninspiring Landscape needs no Protection and nor will it ever get any. Even the AONB’s Review is only thinking of Dunsfold – Which may put another Spanner in the works for DP when they submit a new Outline Application.

    The Inspector – who, as you rightly say WW, is part of the Government and Not WBC has little knowledge of the area or it’s constraints which Unfortunately Mean Nothing in Planning terms. He no doubt will sleep well knowing he has gained more Houses for the Tories, Whilst the poor residents living Next door to it and will have to live with years of construction traffic rumbling past their homes.

    The Inspector’s Comments:

    “As I perceive it there is no cap imposed in the Policy ALH1. If the Examining Inspector or the Council had wanted to impose a cap in LPP1 they could have done so in the policy. Reading the policy objectively, it must be therefore assumed that there was a positive decision not to impose a cap. Indeed, it appears from the Sustainability Appraisal (SA)11 undertaken for LPP1 that the 125 homes figure for Alfold is not a product of the number of “suitable” sites for development but is instead a fairly arbitrary number to reflect the facilities and services in the village.12 It was taken as a “given” and it is worrying that reasonable alternatives with a higher minimum figure attributed to Alfold were therefore not assessed by the SA. It is noteworthy that the SA does recognise that the village “stands out somewhat from the other smaller villages in that there are relatively few environmental constraints.”

    But what this appeal does highlight is that WBC’s LPP1 either deliberately or unknowingly didn’t set a Cap here and perhaps elsewhere too – which suggests Ignorance or worse…. We are so far behind with LPP2 that the Inspectors constantly raise the issue and I am afraid Alfold’s Neighbourhood plan has sat in a ditch for too long.

    The 5-year Housing Supply has been trashed so often you have to ask why they simply keep putting it up there? Throw your hands up and beg for forgiveness!

    This Inspector like many others says you have to look at Each Application on its own Merits and thus cannot be seen in conjunction with the other Applications or Appeals – and yet he refers to Previous Inspector’s Comments pretty frequently – which would imply they have been read and taken into account.

    But we must look ahead and look forward to 10 years of this amazing Demand Responsive Bus Service – so we no longer need our cars………… They will probably need one Full time at Dunsfold Park – Just to ferry all the New Workers across the Runaway due to the lack of Pedestrian Access

    The Inspector says…” Although the Council described the DRBS as a “glorified taxi service” I note that DRBS has the strong support of SCC, funding to provide DRBS in Mole Valley and are currently preparing a funding
    bid for DRBS in Tandridge, Waverley and Guildford.”

    I cannot remember the exact number of Buses that would be made available (and you cannot check on the Appeal Site as no recording of the Appeal) but I seem to remember for the few hours I was able to watch you could count them on 1 hand or Possibly 1/2 a hand!

    Obviously, we can all get on our Bikes…………………
    “As for cycling, it is agreed with the Local Highway Authority (SCC), that cycling is a potential sustainable transport mode for some, e.g. with Cranleigh a 24-minute cycle ride away. The appeal site is only a few minutes bike-ride away from the Surrey Cycleway, which runs west to east through Alfold Crossways on Dunsfold Road, A281 Alfold Bypass and Wildwood Lane. Moreover, the
    topography of the area is relatively flat and therefore conducive to cycling”

    We simply have to Vote with our Heads when it comes to our next elections as we have no other way – This is NOT Levelling Up – it is trashing the most Vulnerable areas of the Borough… Watch out SCC & WBC!

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